The New Labour Corporate Fascist State = privatise the NHS, the British Army, our prisons, our security around nuclear weapons.
Serco is part of the CIA Wackenhut global empire ;
Wackenhut and the CIA
Frequent rumors that his company was in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency, particularly in the 1960s, were never substantiated, but Wackenhut, who was obsessive about high-tech security gadgets in his private life, did not discourage the suggestion. Several of his senior executives were former CIA operatives, and his company's board of directors included former FBI director Clarence M. Kelley, former National Security Agency director Bobby Ray Inman, and former Defense secretary and deputy CIA director Frank Carlucci. On rare occasions, the company's clandestine work did land in the headlines. In 1991, a U.S. House of Representatives committee investigated charges that a Wackenhut executive, working for a consortium of oil companies, illegally spied on a whistleblower, former independent oil executive Chuck Hamel, exposing environmental damage caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The executive, who had also discussed trying to implicate a California congressman in his sting, resigned immediately after a meeting with George Wackenhut.
Magazine Issue 11 Summer 2000
Issue 11 Contents
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Private prison building is one of several projects being run under the Government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI). CAGE reports on the corporations involved in the UK programme.
The current prison system in the UK is imported from America, one of the few countries with a higher proportion of its population behind bars than the UK. Many of the same companies are involved. These companies are paid per inmate per day so the more people are locked up, the more money they make. Private prisons hold people for longer than state prisons, fund right-wing ‘law and order’ politicians and lobby the Government for harsher sentences.1
In the UK more people are being sent to prison and sentences are getting longer.2 The prison population has been rising since 1993, when it was 45,000,3 to its current figure of around 65,000.4 At the same time, a massive prison building programme has been underway involving three prisons currently under construction, three more planned, and extensions to existing prisons.
The Government has estimated that the most recent draconian legislation, for example, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, will cause the prison population to rise to between 71 900 to 80 000 by 2007.5 In January 2000, Prison Privatisation Report International noted that "[the Crime and Disorder Act] could create the need for more prisons. Since all new prisons in England and Wales are to be privately financed, designed, built and run this could allay the private sector’s fears about future prison contracts." The Prison Service aims to have three sites with full planning permission available at all times.6 Expect more to be announced next year when the number of prison places needed for 2001/ 2002 is published in the next spending review.7
Five more prisons for young people are planned to cater for the 2 500 extra 10 to 19 year olds expected to be locked up at any one time as a result of the Crime and Disorder Act. From April 2000 the Youth Justice Board will deal with all places for 10 to 19 year olds.8
Main prison building companies in England and Wales include –
A Consortium of Group4 and Carrillion (formally the construction arm of Tarmac)
Group4, Farncombe House Broadway Worcs WR12 7LT
Chairman and owner: Jorgan Phillip Soresen
Head of Group4 prisons in the UK: Martin Seddon
Carrillion, Ward St, Wolverhampton, WV2 2PT
Chairman: Neville Simmons
Premier Prison Services Ltd (PPS), owned jointly by Wakenhut and Serco Wakenhut Corrections Corporation, 4200 Wakenhut Drive, Palm Gardens, Florida 334104242
Chairman: George Wakenhut
Serco, Serco House, Hayes Rd, Southhall, Middlesex, UB2 5NJ
Chairman: George Gray
UK Detention Services, owned jointly by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Sodexho
CCA 100 Burton Hills Boulevard, Nashville, Tennassee
Chairman: Tom Beasly
Sodexho, Kenley House, Kenley Lane, Kenley, Sussex
Chairman: Pierre Bellon
Head of Custodial Services: Jean Cluny
Securicor is a minor player.
Back to top Wackenhut Plc
Wackenhut Plc is almost entirely owned by its founder George Wakenhut, ex-FBI agent, hard-line right winger and multimillionaire. George Wackenhut made his fortune building files on left-wingers, civil rights activists and anti-war protestors and selling the information to anyone with the money to pay.9 By 1965 he had files on 2.5 million Americans. In 1966 he had 4 million after acquiring the private files of Karl Barslagg, former staff member of the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities. When Congress investigated companies with private files in 1976, Wackenhut gave its files to the Anti-Communist Church League of American Activities, an organisation that worked closely with the Red squads on police departments in New York and Los Angeles.10
In November 1999 Wackenhut was profiting from more than 38,600 people behind bars and had plans to expand to take 9000 more.11 Wackenhut lost its contract to run Travis County Community Justice Centre because of physical and sexual abuse of prisoners and has faced over 40 writs from inmates in its prison at Hobbs, New Mexico.12
Wackenhut provides security for American Embassies and almost all the US Government’s most strategic facilities including the Alaskan oil pipeline, Hanford Nuclear Waste Facility, the Savannah River Plutonium mine and Nevada nuclear test sites.13
The company was investigated by Congress after Wackenhut agents kept businessman George Hammel under surveillance and stole documents to prevent him turning over information to the Environmental Protection Agency, which was investigating the Exxon Valdez oil spill.14
In the 1970s, after the Senate Intelligence Committee revelations of the CIA’s covert operations overseas, the CIA needed to be seen to clean up its act. It has been alleged that since then Wackenhut has been doing the dirty jobs for them in return for Government contracts. In 1992 Spy magazine uncovered evidence that Wackenhut had organised and provided security for shipping the raw materials for chemical weapons to Iraq.15
Wackenhut and Serco Plc (a UK facilities management company that manages the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales and manages Manchester trams16 ), own Premier Prison Services (PPS) which builds and manages prisons in the UK. It runs three prisons and has two under construction (in Bristol and Northamptonshire). It also holds the contract to build an Immigration Detention Centre in Manchester. Probation Officers, health authorities and families of prisoners have made complaints about conditions in PPS prisons.17 Wackenhut and Serco also own Premier Monitoring Services, the company that electronically tags released prisoners in the Midlands, Wales, London and the southeast.18 Wackenhut has the contract for transporting imprisoned asylum-seekers and for security at ports and airports.19
Back to top Group4
Group4 is the largest private security company in the world and is wholly owned by its chairman and founder Jorgen Philip Soresen. Its UK headquarters is a heavily guarded manor house in Worcestershire, where Group4 staff are trained by teams drawn from the Police, Fire Service and Armed Forces.20
Group4 provides security from building sites to the Pentagon and Nato HQ.21 Its security guards were used at Twyford Down22 and Stanworth Valley road protest sites.23 Group4 manages Accuread (the company that reads gas meters in the UK); does prisoner transport; runs cells at courts; and builds and manages prisons in partnership with Carrillion.
In 1992 Group4 won the contract to manage the first private prison in the UK, Wolds Remand Centre in Humberside. Prisoners at Wolds rioted24 and the prison was condemned in a report by the Prison Reform trust.25
This didn’t set them back because, like Wackenhut in America, Group4 has a cosy relationship with the state. Barrie Grane, ex-deputy head of MI5, joined Group4 in 199326 and Norman Fowler, then chairman of the Conservative Party, was a non-executive director for 3 years. He resigned on September 1st 1993; the night before Michael Howard announced the second phase of prison privatisation.27 Group4 now runs HMP Rochdale, Buckley Hall and Altcourse. They are in the process of building the new GCHQ spy base and another prison.
Group4 also runs Campsfield House, an immigration detention centre in Oxford. Refugees are locked up here while their applications for asylum are processed. More immigration detention centres are being built and there are likely to be more after that.
Group 4 has a childcare division called Rebound ECD (Education Care and Discipline) which manages Secure Training Centres (STCs) and has the contract for prisoner transport. Malcolm Stevens, manager of all Group4 STC’s, used to be a Government adviser on STC contracting.
Medway STC is managed by Rebound, a company slated by a team of social services, prison and education inspectors in a report published last year. The report found that virtually all the staff were unqualified and inexperienced at working with young people. They used restraint as the main means of control. They had injured young people by using wrist and neck locks, even though these methods have been criticised by the medical profession and were against the STC’s own rules. The inspectors noted that "not all these incidents were recorded in an appropriate way". Concerns have also been raised over the quality of education and over management’s inability to deal with bullying, self-harm or detox. In the first 6 months two senior managers and 30% of staff resigned and 21 staff, including a 12-person ‘restraint squad’, were drafted in from other Group4 prisons.
Penal reform organisations called for Medway to be closed but were ignored by the Government, perhaps because the Director, Sue Clifton, is an advisor to the Youth Justice Board, on how to deal with young offenders! Unsurprisingly, the Government awarded Group 4 a contract to build another STC.28
Back to top Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) specialises in prisons. It was founded in 1983 by Chairman Tom Beasley, an advisor on corrections for the Governor of Tennessee; Dr R Cronts; and Don Hutto, national president of the America Correctional Association and the investors behind Kentucky Fried Chicken. CCA finances, designs, constructs, renovates and manages prisons in the US, Puerto Rico, Australia and the UK. CCA has been accused of abusive treatment of prisoners and inadequate healthcare. Three inmates at CCA’s prison in Youngstown, Ohio have sued the company for abuse and failure to protect them from staff and other inmates.29 Last year the Colorado Department of Corrections investigated CCA’s Kit Carson prison over allegations that guards were involved in drug smuggling, sexual misconduct and brutality. The Warder was put on administrative leave and guards were charged with bringing contraband into the prison. So many of the staff quit or were fired that CCA was offering guards bonuses of $100 to recruit friends and family with a further $100 if the new recruit stayed for 3 months.30
CCA’s share value has risen from $8 in 1992 to $30 in 1997. It is so proud of itself that it posts its daily share index on the gates of its prisons.31
In June 1994 CCA entered an alliance with French company Sodexho to pursue prison management outside the US. Sodexho is distributing the pitiful handful of vouchers that asylum-seekers in the UK live off and telling supermarkets that the Home Office’s order to pocket the change is "an unmissable revenue making opportunity".32 CCA and Sodexho each have a 50% share of Corrections Corporation of Australia and UK Detention Services.33 UK Detention Service Ltd is a late starter in the UK market but it has already built HMP Blakenhurst in Redditch, has almost finished another prison in Salford, Manchester, and has one of the regional Prisoner Transport Contracts.
The CAGE network supports resistance to prisons. See www.veggies.org.uk/cage or contact email email@example.com. Phone 07931 401 962.
Contact CAGE for details of Bastille Day on 14th July when a range of groups will take action by occupying a space related to the prison industry.
Back to top Footnotes
 http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/archive/ artical10,4273,38504000,00.html
 Prison Service Annual Report and Accounts 97/98
 Home Office Projections of Long Term Trends in Prison Population to 2007
 Prison service Web Site http://hmprisonservice.gov.uk/statistics
 Home Office Projections of Long Term Trends in Prison Population
 P Boeteng Hansard 28/04/2000
 Prison Service Press Release 31/3/2000
 The Age of Surveillance Frank Donner
 Spy Magazine September 92
 Prison Privatisation Report International November 99
 Prison Privatisation Report International November 99
 Spy magazine September 92
 Statements of George Miller and Sherree Rich before the United States Congress Committee of interior and Insular Affairs
 Spy Magazine September 92
 Canadian Union of Public Employees website http://www.cupe.ca/antipriv/company16.html
 Prison Report no 46 February 99
 Prison Privatisation Report International November 99 (published by the Prison Reform Trust)
 Group4 website
 Group4 Web Site www.group4 securitas.com
 marketing week 4/6/93
 Green Party Press Release 11/4/95
 Independent 26/6/92
 Independent 6/4/93
 Guardian 26/5/93
 Guardian 2/9/93
 Prison Privatisation Report International Jan 99
 Washington Post 16/11/97
 Prison Privatisation Report November 99
 Washington times 16/11/97
 Observer 23/4/2000
Have you heard about the company that runs Britain?
It inspects schools, trains our armed forces, helps protect our borders, maintains our nuclear weapons, runs our trains and operates our prisons.
By Graham Ruddick
Published: 12:18PM BST 26 Aug 2009
Previous1 of 2 ImagesNext The Docklands Light Railway runs out from the City to east London
Belmarsh maximum security prison in southeast London
Most of the public will never have heard of Serco, a FTSE 100 company that does all of the above and more.
Led by South African Chris Hyman, Serco is also making money doing it and today underlined it is proving one of the recession winners. Profits in the first six months of the year - one of the toughest the UK economy has faced for decades - jumped 33pc to £83.4m.
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John McCain: Israel's enemies threaten us allHowever, Serco's journey into the DNA of Britain's public infrastructure, like those of rival support services companies Capita and Interserve, began before the recession arrived.
All have benefited from the growing culture of outsourcing services under Labour, and Serco expects this trend to continue as the gaping hole in the public finances forces the Government to cut back.
Serco has secured a record number of contracts in 2009 so far, worth £4bn, as its revenues climbed 30pc to £1.95bn.
The deals includes a contract to design, build and operate Boris Johnson's cycle hire scheme for London and to operate two new prisons at Belmarsh in London and Maghull in Liverpool.
These come on top of Serco's existing services, which include operating London's Docklands Light Railway, running the Northern Rail and Merseyrail train networks, providing the Ministry of Defence with air surveillance and control systems, and delivering infrastructure and intelligence to the UK Border Agency.
To complete the list, Serco also has a six-year contract with Ofsted to run inspections in the Midlands at schools and further education colleges. In defence, the company is battling to win the rights to run the Army's recruitment programme and already helps to train armed forces about using Britain's fleet of aircraft, such as the Chinook and Apache helicopters.
In partnership with Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering, Serco also manages the Atomic Weapons Establishment, which provides and maintains Britain's atomic warheads.
Revenues from civil government work increased 49pc in the period and a bullish Serco expects this trend to continue, giving it even more control of Britain's infrastructure. The company estimates that local authorities have endured a £4bn deficit in income for over the last two years as a result of the recession and that, by 2012 it will have revenues of £5bn.
In the results, Mr Hyman says: "The financial crisis and subsequent economic slowdown means that governments around the world are contending with increasing demand for high quality services whilst also facing a sharp deterioration in public finances. They continue to experience growing demand for quality services from their citizens.
"We believe this is also leading to a greater acceptance of innovative ways of achieving these changes, a broader range of markets to be addressed, and an increase in the size and term of change programmes in order to achieve the scale of efficiencies required.
Not surprisingly, the shares rose 4pc following the results.